From where I started my academic journey, like many things in life, I have arrived at a very different place to where I thought I would be. The main reason for this is because when I first entered QMU my programme of study was Psychology and Sociology, but, two years into the degree I recognised that psychology was not really my bliss and so much to my, and - if the truth be known – my lecturers relief, (though they were all much nice to say!) I jumped ship and have submerged myself in Public Sociology, and have not looked back! So the following are my top tips for mature students.

No. 1Be happy! You’ve arrived at a place, that you have probably promised yourself you were going to get to one day and now you’re here - congratulations!

No. 2 - Make the decision, that above everything else that your experience at QMU is going to be positive, productive and enjoyable.

No. 3 - Have confidence in your own ability. Yes, there’s no doubt that entering a new environment is often daunting, as is taking on a new field of work. However, many of us engage in new things every day and we do it successfully – so, be optimistic that this journey will be just as successful and you will reach your full [there is image below this I'm not sure we can use]

No. 4Academic prowess is of course hugely important, but so is personal growth. Therefore, recognise and be reflective of the personal changes that will take place, as they are not only beneficial to you from a developmental perspective but also important from an academic standpoint. These changes help to shine a light on the type of student you are, which in turn, helps you discover what type of study techniques are likely to best suit you. But, do keep in mind that those techniques can also change and develop over time!

No. 5Get involved and embrace as much of university life that you can, because this is where you can develop and or fine tune a lot of skills. One excellent place to start would be getting involved in some of the volunteering and / or paid positions in the Students' Union. An example of such a position would be Student Trustee, a voluntary position on the Trustee Board which would see you being involved in the overseeing of Union business from a management and administrative perspective and also ensuring that the Board’s? objectives and charity law are being upheld.

No. 6 – When struggling with course work, your first stop should be the Effective Learning Services - the team that provide this service are extremely helpful and supportive. Also, your Personal Academic Tutor (PAT) is an excellent person to contact. Feeling a bit blue or just needing a wee chat about something that is causing you some worry?   Consider talking things through with the QMU Student Counsellor.

No. 7 - Just go for it! Give it all you can and have fun because life is short and the reality is that we almost never regret the things we did do - just the things we didn’t!

Kim Lawlor, BSc (Hons) Public Sociology

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